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March 09, 2014

A Lunch BIT from Democracy Despite Itself by Danny Oppenheimer and Mike Edwards

Posted by: Susan Mai

On March 6th several news outlets broke the news that the House of Representatives approved one billion dollars in loan guarantees to the embattled country of Ukraine, drawing grumbles from the general population. Reading the comments section of one particular article, most people take umbrage with the fact that we are giving more aid to a country, when we already give too much. In the BIT “Don’t Know Much About… Well Anything, Really…” Danny Oppenheimer and Mike Edwards explain that most of the policy ideas the voting population are often based on wrong information. For instance, they say that “over 60 percent of Americans believe that the United States spends too much on foreign aid. The average voter believes that we spend 20 percent of the federal budget on foreign aid and that we should only be spending half that much—about 10 percent. But in reality, less than 1 percent of the U.S. budget goes to foreign aid!” This might seem like a critique of American voters, but to the Oppenheimer and Edwards, there is a silver lining. They believe that despite the misinformed general population, our democracy functions quite well. Read this BIT to find out why.

Responses to the blog post